This is the first time my wife & I sail with Celebrity as we have heard from our friends that Celebrity service is great & food is better than the other major cruise liners. So we said give it a try to see New Zealand & a bit of Australia.
If we can sum it up, our experience for this cruise is about the same in some areas & may be just a tad worst than the other cruise liners in the areas noted below. Start with checked in in Auckland, we have never experienced some check in some unorganized. At least, we found our disembarking in Sydney quite organized though once off the ship is another story. For coming back from a tired day visiting the port, guess what, there is only 1 x-ray machine line & that is a bit ridiculous. When tendering, most guest will return 30 minutes before the final time & only 1 boat is available. Logistic planning is not score high points here.
Food experience is average, the dessert selection is lacking & plate presentation could be better. We came across a few fellow passengers & we were all wondering why on a New Zealand cruise with no kiwi fruit being served as one of the daily fruits selection. Considered to be a bit odd? We had specialty dinner in the Murano that we found the food & service to be above average. Main dinning room plates as noted above is not up to the standard as expected especially some dishes were from Top Chef show. We looked at the pictures we took from one of the other cruise lines & what a disappointment.
Though we understand weather condition is not something the Captain can control that we were delayed reaching Tasmania. The excursion we took in Tasmania was hastily rushed through & making up the places we were to visit due to closure (as the ship arrived late) by driving around showing us some key buildings. For disembarking at Tasmania, it was not done in an organized fashion as the gangway so steep when we arrived (noted it was corrected when we cam back). Then in Melbourne, it was organized chaos during disembarking for the excursion buses. One would think after some many times visiting the port that better direction to the guest is provided.
As for onboard days at the sea, other than sale at the shops, there are not too other interesting activities being organized. I do read the daily “Today” flyer to catch what is interesting but not a lot that “wow’ us.
The nightly shows are quite good though the 3 guest singers for 3 different shows sang the same songs. The farewell show should be the highlight but turned out to be one of the worst show for the cruise.
Overall, our stateroom attendant & waiter provided good attentive service as expected. We considered our Celebrity cruise experience as mediocre & lack that “WOW” factor in many areas. We were considering taking the future cruise offer however after serious considering think we have to pass on the offer. We are not saying that we will not take another cruise vacation with Celebrity but have to thinking hard before we will again.
Good to stay in the middle of the ship & lower deck when experiencing 5 M waves crossing the Tasman Sea.
Cabin has ample storage with bathroom bigger than average balcony cabins of other cruise lines.
Booked with Zealander Tours & at least 50% savingView All 40 Geothermal Springs Reviews
Auckland is the biggest city, we were there 2 days prior to sailing & took the hop on hop off bus to see the city. Great place to shop for merino wool items. Checking in could be a bit chaotic as the cruise ship parked along side Auckland Hilton. Not a lot of room for drop off as the check in area is make shift.
see aboveView All 33 City Tour Reviews
City provided free shuttle & if known will have to sign up for the excursion. 10 mins shuttle bus ride to city centre then take the able car to the Garden & the entire downtown could be explored on foot.View All 10 Lady Norwood Rose Garden Reviews
Long bus ride to Christchurch but not recommended as the City is still in rebuilding mode ...very depressing. If you have to visit Christchurch, do not miss the musuem & the botanic garden. Suggest signing up with the cruise line as quite some distance. Tendering back to the ship was a long wait.View All 44 Christchurch City Tour Reviews
Good tour as include City tour & free return shuttle from City Centre. The cruise line offer shuttle & is $14/person (30 mins ride from Port Chalmers. Cheaper to sign up the train ride once you are downtown. Due to weather condition, we stayed an extra night in Dunedin that provided us additional time to explore Port Chalmers on foot.View All 16 Speights Brewery Reviews
As our ship arrived 4 hours late to Hobart due to rough sea, the intended visit to the Botanical Garden was cancelled instead we got a drive around in the coach to see some historic buidlings instead. Oyster farm (oyster tasting was cut short also) & same with wine tasting.View All 7 Tasmanian Wine Tasting Reviews
Only time we were able to catch a glimpse of the Tasmania devils, koala bears but miss the kangaroo as they were being moved. Still worth to visit the reserve & prepared for 1.5hs bus ride (one-way). Have the bus driver drop off at the terminal gate to catch street car #109 to Wellington Downtown on the way back as the streets car within the central business district is free. Or you can stroll along the beach in Port Melbourne.
No need to join any excursions if you just want to explore the city as easy to catch a street car from the terminal (buy a transit day pass for $14)View All 6 Healesville Sanctuary Reviews